Bonci’s Pizzarium is my paradigm for pizza, and there just is no rival for the best of the best. Alas I am thousands of miles away from my favorite, but I found two worthy substitutes in the South Bay.

Locale 90 has two locations in the heart of Riviera Village in Redondo, and on Hermosa Avenue in Hermosa Beach. I loved their Puttanesca with white anchovies, olives, capers, oregano, and chili flakes with a red sauce made with san marzano crushed tomatoes. Although they say the pizza is for one, this $14 plate was two meals for me, so it’s not as pricey as it may seem. The crust had the perfect chew, and although it is not as thin as in in Naples, the added bit of thickness helped hold the toppings so you could pick it up to eat it.

I also tried their Sopressata salami with smoked mozzarella and roasted peppers for $15, which had nice flavors, but the puttanesca was my favorite.

Both locations offer a nice selection of beer and wine, and the Smog City IPA was a perfect accompaniment to the pizza.

Il Romanista is one of the few places in Los Angeles serving up Roman style square pieces like Pizzarium. The sell by slice, not weight, but the spirit of the place is like Pizzarium, with varied choices of fresh ingredients for a very reasonable price for the quality at only $3.50-$4.50 per slice. One slice is good as an appetizer, two for a meal, and three if you are very hungry! This mixed mushroom slice was good on its own, but even better with some red pepper flakes.

They had one slice of squash blossom and goat cheese left, so my friend and I shared it 🙂

The cheesy version of a mushroom slice was just as good as the tomato version.

Although the pizzas are crisp and look flat, the crust has the loft and texture that shows off how the 36-72 hour cold fermentation process has worked its magic.

It’s nice to have good places nearby, but LAX is also nearby, so one day I may just have to make the 17 hour flight for a taste of my pizza paradigm 🙂